Keen to build your leadership skills? According to ACG Sunderland Head Boy Anshul Sharma, the best thing you can do is start putting your hand up for things.
“It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel you have all the traits to be a leader yet,” explains Anshul. “If you volunteer yourself for responsibilities, not only will you start developing those traits, but people will also begin to think of you as a leader.”
And he should know. Although leadership was far from his mind during his initial years at ACG Sunderland, by the time Anshul reached Year 10, he began seriously thinking about getting more involved and showcasing himself as a leader. His efforts and enthusiasm paid off. Now, as Head Boy, he coordinates and assists the student leadership team, advocates for the needs of the student body, and is a leading representative of the school. What’s more, he couldn’t be happier about it.
“It means a great deal. I’ve been at the school since I was in Year 7, and having the ability to serve as a leading member of the student body is a great privilege. It’s also an exciting and interesting role that will see me develop many skills I can utilise later in life. Overall, I’m extremely excited – although I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was initially a bit nervous too!
Being selected for such an important role, of course, brings feelings of pressure but also a keenness for the challenge.”
So what attributes does Anshul believe make for a good leader?
“The ability to perceive and respond to ideas in a way that ensures the person who proposed it feels listened to. I would also say being respectful, not being too imposing or lenient, and most importantly, being able to achieve your goals effectively.”
As far as goals go, Anshul has many for the year ahead, but one particularly close to his heart is the Sunderland of Service programme.
“I would really like to assist with better publicising and implementing this programme in our school. Having been heavily involved with it last year, the student leadership team all agree that the programme needs to draw more attention around the school.”
It will continue to be a busy year for the highlight-motivated all-rounder. On top of his leadership responsibilities, Anshul plays bass in the Sunderland Soul Band. And with his sights set on a future in medicine, academic achievements are also front of mind (biology, chemistry and English literature are his favourite subjects). Spending time with friends is another priority.
“My biggest enjoyment would be hanging out with my friends, having developed quite a close-knit group with some of us meeting from day one of Year 7!”
He got the chance to do just that at the recent Year 13 camp, and he loved every moment.
“Camping out in Tongariro and doing 50 kilometres of canoeing was a really rewarding experience. It was definitely one of my personal highlights.”
Undoubtedly, by the time year’s end rolls around, Anshul will have gathered even more highlights – memories he will treasure as he transitions into the next stage of his educational journey. But he has the following advice for those climbing up the year levels behind him.
“Don’t overthink or stress too much about a particular situation or workload. Instead, use that energy to think of how to tackle it. And if something doesn’t go to plan, don’t work yourself up about it because, after a while, it won’t mean nearly as much to you as it did at that moment.”